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The Annunciation is a significant feast day within the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox traditions.  You may be surprised to learn that even the Qu “ran records the Annunciation, although the focus is a little different. 

 The Angelus has traditionally been rung early in the morning; at noon, and at evening. In former times when watches and clocks were not omnipresent, the sound of the Angelus bell would have provided a very useful marker, dividing the periods of an ordinary day. 

 However, the Angelus has a far greater significance than simply dividing the day, and of course it always did.  In the Angelus we celebrate the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

In the first century Jewish world Mary or ‘Maryam’ was the most common or ordinary name imaginable. The name simply means ‘one who wished for a child’. For an ordinary Jewish girl, this was a very ordinary ambition in life. But they do say, be careful what you wish for. In Luke Chapter 1, Mary’s ordinary wish is being granted, albeit in the most extraordinary way imaginable. But even more extraordinary than the angels unexpected message is Marys response to it.  After a very human and humble question along the lines of „are you sure?‟, Mary utters those extraordinary words, „Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word

From all eternity, God knew who the Mother of his Incarnate Son would be. From all eternity, he chose her and fashioned her. But the Incarnation depended on her consent. Mary did not understand how she could become the mother of the Messiah; apparently, she had some promise of virginity, even though she was betrothed to Joseph. Not knowing how, nevertheless she said, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me as you say. At that instant, the Word was made flesh. God became man in her womb. 

But there is more. In Ephesians and Colossians, St. Paul tells us that God chose us in Christ to be his holy and beloved adopted children before the world was made. Now if he chose us in Christ from eternity, that is before sin occurred. This indicates that the Word would have become flesh even if there had never been sin: For God chose us in Christ before the fact of sin. He chose us in his Incarnate Son. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, is therefore the model of all creation as well as the cause of redemption. But Christ-in-the-flesh could not be the model of creation unless.... unless the same Virgin Mary consented!  Mary is, to be sure, our model for acceptance and invitation to faithfully respond to the word of God in our lives.  Mary’s discerning response to Gabriel’s announcement models for us our acceptance of God’s invitations in our own unique circumstances. 

Let us thank Mary today for her unconditional ‘Yes’ and let us ask her to help us to say our ‘Yes’ to God, today and for the rest of our lives.


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